|Para Ti Global volunteers meet with disadvantaged youth in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. (Courtesy photo/Para Ti Global)|
We just returned from a trip to Mexico with Para Ti Global, a nonprofit group dedicated to fostering education in the younger generation in disadvantaged communities.
Our wanderings took us to centers for orphans and physically challenged youth in the states of Jalisco and Nayarit.
As is true in many idyllic touristic destinations, life looks different when you venture away from beaches and golf courses.
At our hotel in Nayarit’s Nuevo Vallarta locale, we enjoyed air conditioning, fine cuisine and hospitality. In the mornings, we drove to neighborhoods with dirt roads, flooding, mosquitos and wandering cattle.
We usually travel to a municipality called Magisterio. The kids we know there were out of school, and unable to go to the community center.
A Canadian couple we know created a nonprofit devoted to helping people in Calle de la Esperanza, or Street of Hope. Their work inspired some of our interest in related endeavors.
We visited another place we know well, called Casa Hogar, which houses children who are largely orphaned or wrestling with physical and emotional traumas.
Although our purpose was to deliver food and supplies, we also hung out, played games and talked to the kids. Some of them attend local schools.
Some kids are simply cared for in-house.
At Casa Hogar, there are also babies and toddlers lacking the economic or family support systems necessary to live in traditional homes. Mexican culture values children. The love expressed by the full-time volunteers was palpable throughout our visit.
At the daycare home of Pasitos de Luz, children reside only during daylight hours, as they have strong family support systems.
The youth at this inspirational facility are profoundly physically challenged. We saw kids with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and rare inherited neurological diseases.
The caregivers worked ceaselessly to assist these children in feeding, brushing teeth and other activities of daily living.
Pasitos also provides a structured program of activities, learning, exercise, music and dance in a beautiful and modern facility.
The home’s inspirational staff demonstrates how a few people can make a huge difference.
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